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Showing posts from February, 2010

Just like your ol' Sweet Potato Pie

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(please read that title with a Southern twang to get the full effect of my giddiness) Today's tremendous success: my new (of course not measured) recipe for sweet potato pie! But not to worry, since Andrew has already scarfed down about 1/3 of it, I plan to make it again and this time... with measurements! Just look at it, isn't this just saying: eat me! eat me!
For those willing to try the recipe sans measurements: The crust was ground spelt (soaked and dehydrated as always), ground cashews, soaked apricots and dates (in terms of ratio it was about 3/4 apricots 1/4 dates), a little bit of maple syrup, dash of salt, vanilla. The 'filling' was sweet potatoes, maple syrup, vanilla, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, salt, and a little melted coconut butter (to solidify it). All of the filling went into my Vitamix to be blended and since the mixture came out pretty liquidy, it first took a turn in the dehydrator (not more than a couple hours), then I put it in the freezer for…

Conscious Corner

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Nestled in Clarksville, MD, is one of my state's havens for eco-conscious and healthy living: the Conscious Corner. Made up of an awesome vegan restaurant, Great Sage, a natural pet food store, Bark, an organic and fair trade home, clothing, and craft store, Nest, and huge local natural food store, Roots, these four businesses came together in 2000 to turn what could have been another boring corner of yet another strip mall into another little hub of green awesomeness... soon we'll take over the world!
While I forgot my camera, we started off with an wonderful raw vegan lunch at Great Sage, which we'd been to once before in our cooked vegan days. Their chef has been trying to incorporate more raw foods into their menu in part because of demand, and in part because the restaurant's manager and some of their waitstaff (including our awesome waitress Leah who gets a shout out if you checked out my blog :) ) have been trying to go raw over the last little while. We had thei…

Daily Superfoods

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The beauty of a raw food diet is that you get to discover all sorts of fun new foods that people just don't ever think of looking into when on a SAD diet. While I know that I could thrive on a high raw diet on its own if I wanted to, superfoods are often way too tasty to pass up! So along with spirulina, maca, and mesquite powder, other favourite superfoods I have daily are a mix of:
Turkish Mulberries: Sweet and a little tart, these little suckers are packed with vitamin C, iron, calcium, fiber and have a significant amount of protein. They're considered to be a blood tonic, but also benefit the kidneys, help with stress, fatigue and sleep, help protect against cancer and anemia, and is anti-aging... as usual with superfoods, that's only the beginning of a long list of its benefits!
Goji Berries: My grandmother actually used to drink a tea with these in it when I was little and I already loved them then! Well enough, they've been used by the Chinese for centuries as a m…

Yummy in my tummy

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Slowly but surely, I've been working my way through Alissa Cohen's 300+ recipes (from her book, Living on Live Food). This week's yumminess was her recipe for raw calzones topped with marinara sauce. While I still like her pizza best, and her burger second, these filled a craving for denser and warmer foods that's I've had recently. (Also, the picture in the book is just really appealing).
I've come to the point in my culinary life where I can now read a recipe book and realize whether or not I'm going to like the taste of the recipes of not. I don't believe in denigrating anyone's taste buds, and I realize that we all have difference preferences, so we have to find the recipes that resonate with ours. What one person might like is what another person might detest. Some people like sweet, some like sour, some like more 'exotic' tastes, while others like their food more basic and sensible, and that's all great! So when looking for the perf…

The ultimate superfood

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If I were stuck on a deserted island and could only bring one superfood what would it be? Spirulina for sure! (Though that might seem a dumb idea since there would probably be seaweed all around my deserted island...) Mesquite would probably be my second. But spirulina, the world's tastiest blue-green algae, is truly an amazing product! By being a superfood, it obviously contains all your essential amino acids, as well as every other non-essential amino acid, phytonutrient, minerals, and vitamin you could ever think of (and many that you probably didn't even know existed... for more detail, you can find the info here). So yep, that includes the elusive B12, so feared and honored by vegans and raw foodists. Spirulina's breakdown is about 55-77% protein, about 20% carb, 5% healthy fat, and is super rich in minerals, and fiber! Who could ask for more?
If all of that wasn't enough, spirulina helps support the immune system, cardiovascular health, is a powerful anti-oxidan…

Positive Reinforcement & Layers of Goodness

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I know some people find it distracting or sub-optimal to listen to music or read magazines while working out because it takes your attention away from your body and your workout. For the most part, I can understand that, one should be focused on their workout not watching a TV screen, reading about the new shoes they want to buy, or cramming for an exam. However, I also kind of disagree with music part of it mainly because I use music as a trigger to get my workout going. Music has always really helped me get in the mood for a good run or a good weight lifting session. In this case, it's positive reinforcement, not a distraction or a negative contributor.
I do want to stress though that by creating distractions for themselves in the gym, a lot of people are actually choosing to surround themselves with negativity, and by that I basically mean by reading trashy tabloid and/or lifestyle magazines, which you see more than half of women do at the gym. Not only does this make you lose f…

Daily Skin Care: 5 minutes lasts a lifetime!

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As I mentioned before, yet another one of the reasons I love my mom is because of the discipline she gave my sister and I to take care of our skin. Even better, she's always been very adamant that we use high quality and natural products, which is especially important given the amount of 'stuff' they now put in personal care products (here's a pretty straightforward guide for what to avoid written up by the Organic Consumers Association and the Green Patriot Working Group).
Having struggled with acne during my teenage years, I've been amazed by what a vegan and especially a raw diet has done to clear up any remnants of damage. However, putting body lotion on every day for as long I can remember has kept the rest of my skin silky soft for years (and I really believe in doing this because my mom's skin looks about 20 years younger than anyone else's her age)! My skin is one thing I feel like I can have bragging rights about (it's good to acknowledge your s…

Thoughts on Ash Wednesday

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Ever since I've been a kid, I've always fasted to some degree on Ash Wednesday and this year was no different. I have been giving a lot of thought about why I do this or why people fast in general (for religious or spiritual reasons anyway) because I've had increasingly mixed thoughts about why I do this. Am I just doing this to feel like I'm a bigger person? Is this just making ego feel self-important by making myself suffer for a day and feel really good that I could get through it? I don't think so... I've come to the conclusion that it can also serve a much greater purpose than merely feeding your ego (haha, feeding your ego, by not feeding your body...).
What was bothering me was that I do recognize that I'm extremely privileged (as many if not most of us who have time to spend reading or writing blogs are) and that not eating for 24 hours is not going to make me understand what it's like to be starving or disenfranchised or needy. However, I think…

Happy Mardi Gras!

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Another day, another festival! Happy Mardi Gras to all! In preparation for the Christian season of Lent, Mardi Gras is something like an ultimate celebration of indulgence to kick off 40 days of reflection, austerity, and growth ending at Easter. Because most people choose to fast or abstain from something during the period of Lent, Mardi Gras (as the name would suggest) is mostly about the food and the revelries. Costumes, masks, parades, and baked goodies, it is colorful, cheerful and oh so sweet!
One of the most quintessential French traditions on Mardi Gras is to make crêpes, the wonderful treat that does nottranslate as 'pancake'. The sweet ones are usually filled with Nutella, sugar and lemon juice, Grand Marnier, bananas, or jams, while the salty ones are usually some permutation of a vehicle for ham, eggs, mushrooms, and cheese. If you've ever been to Paris (or plan to go) I highly suggest you go to a traditional crêpes vendor to have your own piece of French culin…

Holidays Galore!

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Between Chinese New Year, Valentine's Day, and Mardi Gras, I've definitely had my fill of holidays over the past couple days! First off, happy New Year to all those on the lunar calendar and a special shout-out to all the other Tiger zodiacs out there!
As kids, we definitely used to make a bigger deal out of Chinese New Year, doing a lot more of the traditional activities a family does and getting our little red money envelopes at the end of the evening. However, we still honor the most important part of the day though: getting together as a family to celebrate over a big meal. We had a wonderful dinner with all of the many extensions of my Chinese family that live in the area, now uniting four generations under one roof! Though I didn't have most of the meal because it wasn't raw (I made a big salad for the veggie eaters), I still loved to share in the experience of the big traditional Chinese hot pot (which is actually your perfectly balanced meal of proteins, starche…

'Za

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I am so in love with Alissa Cohen's pizza recipe... I made another super batch today using her easy pizza crust recipe along with the marinara sauce from her eggplant parmesan recipe and my own permutation of cheese like substance. All of this was topped with my usual favourites: pineapple, black olives, broccoli, and spinach. For the 'cheese', I used:

-1 1/2 C macadamia nuts -1/2 C pinenuts -juice of 1/2 lemon -1 tbsp of Braggs Liquid Aminos
Just blend in the Vitamix (you could probably add a couple tbsps of water if it's not creamy enough). It made about 2 cups which was enough to cover two 8'' pizzas with a little bit leftover.
Though I did used to like pizza, I was never pizza crazy the way college guys are capable of being, but ever since I've discovered the raw version, I can't get enough! I can just hear my stomach screaming 'Piiiizzzzzzaaaa..." the minute the first slice passes through my lips. I think I finally understand how guys feel when …

Fennel Grapefruit Salad

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Our simple but tasty dinner will be the subject of today's post: Grapefruit Fennel Salad with a honey mustard dressing. The tanginess of the grapefruit goes really well with the licorice-y taste of fennel.
1. Cut 1 grapefruit into large-ish chunks 2. Cut 1/2 fennel bulb into strips (I used them all the way to the branches) 3. Mix 1 tbsp of raw honey, 1 tbsp of cold-pressed olive oil, with 1 tsp of stone ground mustard, pinch of salt and pepper to taste 4. Mix sauce in with grapefruit and fennel and mix well (I threw in some romaine lettuce too) 5. Serves 2!
Also, we also went to go see the Charles Darwin biopic, Creation, today, I highly suggest you go see if, it it if seems like something that would be of interest to you. To think that someone would publish such a theory at the height of religious zealoutry in England is quite ballsy if you ask me. It's also kind of scary to think that it's only playing in independent theaters in the US because it was deemed too controversial …

Tastes & Textures

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Oops... Time slipped by last night and I forgot to post. I'm hoping that posting early enough will make that go unnoticed. One of the things I love to figure out when preparing foods, whether raw or not, is aspiring to combine tastes and textures in creative and tasty new ways. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes pretty simple to know which ingredient will go nicely with another, how to mix sweet and salty, crunchy and soft, foods with a bite with foods that are 'thicker', etc.

However, one of the challenges with raw foods is how to actually make things edible. Obviously I don't mean how to make them tasty, that's definitely not the hard part, but how to actually make one able to pick up the food you they're served without making a mess. Some foods were by definition not meant to be eaten in a non-messy fashion, think burritos or burgers or nachos or something, but some things were, like most desserts. While it can be a challenge to make a wrap stuffed with…